Detecting and Preventing Cancer Spread
Thus Dr. Gehrig said the "liquid biopsy" was born, essentially looking for those tumor cells in the blood stream. In 2017 Cleaveland Clinics Top Ten Medical Innovations for 2017 said that this liquid biopsy used to analyze genetics of tumors could be the easiest and most comprehensive way to approach cancer treatment in some tumors. Alternatives are to look for actual cirulating tumor cells (CTC) or parts of the tumor DNA that is free ctDNA. And the technique of finding cells in the blood stream with a specific draw can be so non-invasive the cancer physicians can use the test to see if the tumor changes genetically overtime.
We can use these liquid biopsies to predict responses to treatments. In breast cancer treatment, if you have less than 5 cells in a cc of blood you do much better with respect to treatment outcomes, colon cancer the cut off is 3 cells. But straight forward answers have not been the case in all tumors and the amount of circulating cells found in ovarian cancer has not predicted success of treatment. A new company is trying to use their techniques of finding cells, with their Magnetic Nest Cell Presentation Device that magnetically aligns cells so their CellTracks Analyzzer can check them out. Researchers at Mass General are looking at this as a new way to treat cancer, and the media, like me, has pricked up their ears and are wondering if it could become that, to quote Dr. Gehrig again, golden challis of ovarian cancer: a screening test for the asymptomatic and low risk woman.Currently using ultrasounds and CA125 tests, or ultrasounds and more expanded biomarker tests are both expensive and full of false results making them not yet useful in general populations.
At Women's Health Practice we suggest you come in to discuss what your personal risk profile is and what tests would be recommended for you to do, and which tests to avoid.